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Comrie leaving public office

Cyril Josh Barker | 8/1/2013, 11:20 a.m. | Updated on 8/1/2013, 11:20 a.m.

Queens City Councilman Leroy Comrie shook up the political world this week with his announcement that he is dropping out of the race for the position of Queens borough president due to financial issues within his campaign. The move ends his over-a-decade-long career in public office.

In a statement released last week, the southeast Queens councilman said that personal matters were preventing him from moving on with his campaign to be borough president. The seat is currently held by longtime Borough President Helen Marshall.

“I remain steadfast in my faith and belief in government, and it is a true honor to continue to serve the people of southeast Queens in my capacity as councilman,” he said. “Queens is one of the greatest boroughs in our city, and I am thankful to everyone for the opportunity to showcase my platform for inclusion and empowerment and express my passion for the borough that was afforded me in this race.”

In a recent interview with the AmNews, Comrie said that it was financial matters that stopped him from moving forward to becoming the next Queens borough president. He said that the financial strain was becoming too much.

“It was a very difficult decision to make,” he said. “After a lot of analysis and soul-searching and talking to people and talking to my family, I decided to not continue in elected office and not be in the race. There was a lot of shock and disappointment, but I hope to be able to still impact and help with making sure that people can have what they need to get things done in government and be a guide and mentor to people.”

A native of southeast Queens, Comrie started working with the City Council when he served as chief of staff for City Councilman Archie Spigner. Comrie succeeded Spigner in 2002, when he was elected to represent the 27th District. He served also as deputy majority leader of the City Council.

Looking back at his 12 years in office, Comrie said that he is proud of the legacy and wants to continue working to improve his community. Some of his highlights as an elected official include the creation of the Black Male Initiative and the Workforce Program and his work with cutting down on the number of foreclosures in Queens.

Comrie said he’s also proud of his work saving firehouses and his major upgrades to libraries, including extended hours and maintained budgets. However, he’s most proud of giving opportunities to those who could be future leaders.

“We’ve had more than 300 different interns who have worked in my office over the last 12 years. They were given an opportunity to experience and understand government,” he said.

As for the next Queens borough president, Comrie said that person has to not only know the borough, but also know its growing and diverse population. He told the AmNews that he plans to make an announcement this week about his future plans and who he will support in the race.